Hamilton

Six Nations public health reports 1st cases of concerning COVID-19 variants

Ohsweken Public Health has reported its first two COVID-19 variants of concern at Six Nations of the Grand River.

Variants will be reported on Six Nations of the Grand River's website

The first variant of concern was reported on March 18 and the second came on March 22.  (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Ohsweken Public Health has reported its first two cases of COVID-19 variants of concern at Six Nations.

A variant of concern can spread within a day or two as opposed to two weeks, said a media release from public health, and can cause more severe illness. At Six Nations of the Grand River, the first variant of concern was reported on March 18 and the second came on March 22. 

"The presence of a [variant of concern] found in the territory should be taken very seriously. It is a reminder that everyone must remain vigilant with protective measures with anyone outside of their own household," said Lori Davis Hill, director of Six Nations Health Services. 

All positive tests are examined for variants, and variants detected in the community will now be reported on the Six Nations of the Grand River COVID-19 website. 

People will be notified if they've contracted a variant

Contact tracing has started, public health said, and people affected are taking measures to self-isolate to further limit the spread outside of involved households. 

"Everyone is encouraged to take the self-isolation precautions seriously, especially as we begin to see a rise in [variants of concern] in surrounding communities," said the release. 

It said Public Health Ontario will notify people about a variant being detected in their lab results. 

Ohsweken Public Health said it's urging the community to continue to follow health and safety guidelines to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 within the territory.

This includes staying home as much as possible, practising social distancing, wearing a mask, frequently washing your hands, avoiding large gatherings and seeking the COVID-19 vaccination when possible.

Get tested if you have concerns, public health says

Vaccines are available at the clinic by appointment only. Community members can book online. Those without internet access can call the phone line to book an appointment at 226-227-9288, seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

If people are experiencing symptoms or think they may have been exposed to the virus, public health said it strongly encourages people to get tested for COVID-19. It stressed that it's possible to contract the virus and not have any symptoms, but still be contagious. 

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